Thursday, March 15, 2012

The New Weekend Mindset

This is my 11th Shabbos in Israel.  Whoa.  Amazing.

Over the past three and a half years since my daughters made aliyah, I've heard them lament the loss of Sunday in their lives - the kind of Sunday they had in America.  You know - sleep a little later, at least not rushing out for school or work, get stuff done, relax a little without a harried schedule, etc.

Not that anyone minds the lack of the Sunday Whine of the Children, "What are we going to DO today?" of course.  But it is hard for those of us who have grown up with the mindset of Sunday as an off day to rush from Shabbos into work/school. 

That is one of the most interesting (I won't say difficult) parts of my aliyah experience.  By the time Monday rolls around, I'm sure it's Tuesday - I literally have to keep checking to see what day of the week it is.  And that feeling after Shabbos that TOMORROW is not an off day is hard to get used to. But then I remember that (I'm not proud of this, people) sometimes on Shabbos I'd be thinking about what I wanted to do AFTER Shabbos or on Sunday, since Shabbos was not this island of relaxation - it was connected with Sunday as part of two days "off."

But I gotta tell you, my new Israeli weekend mindset has finally sunk in and it's awesome.

Here is what it was always like for me in America:
  • Wednesday: Oy, I have two more days of work until Shabbos.  Better do food shopping today so I can cook tomorrow.
  • Thursday: I have to go home after a whole day of work and cook for Shabbos because I have to work on Friday and then rush home.
  • Friday: Go to work, the whole time dreaming of Shabbos.  Try to pay attention at work, knowing Shabbos is coming.  Rush home a few hours before Shabbos, hurriedly get ready (which I always kind of liked, the rushing around on Friday part), Shabbos starts, sink into a chair and sigh a lot.
  • Shabbos:  hmmm, should we go out tonight?  Go to the mall tomorrow?
But in Israel it's like this:
  • Wednesday - ooh, tomorrow night starts the weekend!
  • Thursday - ooh, weekend starts tonight - ahhh, a whole day tomorrow to get ready for shabbos.
  • Friday - nothing to do but get ready for Shabbos.
  • Saturday night - OK, that's it, back to work tomorrow.
You see, here you actually spend a day preparing for Shabbos, not a day preparing AND working AND rushing home.  And this makes Shabbos more special, as it should be - an oasis of pure peace.

Even in the summer, when Friday is longer, and you get to do something fun like go to the beach so you have to cook on Thursday, you know that the whole day is dedicated to pre-Shabbos.

I have never actually realized how important, even vital, it is to prepare mentally for Shabbos. I may have thought I was preparing in America, but now that I am here, I realize that I was sort of fooling myself.  When I was working on Friday, I was pretty far from the real mental exercise of preparing for Shabbos. - but there I had no choice.

I realize now that I never knew what it felt like to prepare oneself for Shabbos.  I used to set the table on Thursday night so I could see it for a whole day before Shabbos came - so I guess I was looking for some way to connet to Shabbos before it arrived.  But here everyone prepares mentally for Shabbos.  By the time Wednesday rolls around, the cashiers in the grocery stores are saying Shabbat Shalom as  you leave.

Re-reading this I'm not even sure that I've expressed how special this is. I think you have to be here and experience it to really let it sink into your head completely.

I sincerely hope this country does not change the system and make Friday a work day and Sunday an off day - this is what they are considering.  Because what is so special about Friday in Israel would be totally lost.  That would be tragic.

Good Shabbos, all...

1 comment:

  1. I really think we should move to a 3-day weekend around the world, actually. Friday, Shabbos, and Sunday off for of both worlds!